Maputo is the capital and largest city of Mozambique. A port on the Indian Ocean with its economy centered around the harbor. It has a population of about 1,300,000, but the actual population is higher because of slums and other unofficial settlements. Coal, cotton, sugar, chromite, sisal, copra, and hardwood are the chief exports. The city manufactures cement, pottery, furniture, shoes, and rubber.

The Mozambique Liberation Front, or FRELIMO, was formed in Tanzania in 1962 and fought for independence from Portuguese rule. The Mozambican War of Independence lasted over 10 years, ending only in 1974 when the Portuguese government regime was overthrown in Lisbon. The new government granted independence to all Portuguese overseas territories.

Skilled Portuguese workers fled the country as the new government tried socialism but by the early 1980s the country was bankrupt. Money was worthless and shops were empty as the country was plagued from 1977 to 1992 by a long and violent civil war that opposed FRELIMO against rival RENAMO – the Mozambican Civil War. Growth and stability returned in the 1990s.

Read the Gay Mozambique story